• Beccy Holland

Is drinking water really important?


One of the reasons I love naturopathy and ideas about nutrition are because they are very simple. Our body is always striving for balance. It has a wonderful ability to heal itself given the correct conditions and one of those conditions it needs in plentiful supply is water.

How much water is always debatable but consider these facts.

  • Human beings are made up of water.

  • Every cell in our body wants to be 70% water.

  • The central nervous system; being the brain & spinal cord need to be 85% water.

  • Every system in our body is made of water in the form of lymph or blood.

  • All nutrients are carried to our cells in water.

So what kind of water do we need?

We need good quality, clean pure water - not tap water. Tap water has lots of nasty chemicals, mostly chlorine which kills bacteria, sadly all bacteria, even the healthy bacteria in our digestive system which is doing such a good job. We can improve tap water though. If we boil it it will remove some of the chlorine.

Remember though, you are always better to drink tap water than none at all. We are very, very fortunate in the Western World to have water we can drink from a tap.

Other alternatives include bottled water or filtering our own water. There are a range of different systems to investigate including simple jug filters right through to whole house systems. With bottled water there are implications for the environment as we do not really want to add to our already huge recycling problems. There is also the idea that chemicals can leach from the plastic bottle into the water especially at extreme temperatures; for example when it is left in a hot car or frozen in the freezer. Some filters can be effective but sometimes they can remove all of the natural minerals from the water making it quite acidic. It is often a good idea to test the pH of the water after filtering before you make an investment.

You may be fortunate to live near a spring where water is naturally filtered and picks up minerals on its journey to the sea. Check out www.findaspring.com to find out if there is one near you. Chalice Well water in Glastonbury is legendary for its wonderful properties and is thought to be extra ‘healing’.

The ideal temperature to drink water is blood temperature. If you drink very cold water it will sit in your stomach until the body warms it up and makes it accessible to hydrate all your lovely cells.

Once you have decided what type of water you are going to drink then it’s worth considering when to drink it and how much. Try not to drink water with food as it dilutes the digestive enzymes and prevents them of doing their job properly. Instead, aim to drink some water about 30 mins before food as this has the beneficial effect of preparing the digestive system for food.

Depending on your current water intake, the level of exercise you take and the climate you live in it is probably best to slowly work up to drinking 2 -2.5 litres per day of just pure water or with a slice of lemon or fruit or cucumber for taste. It takes a little while to build up your natural thirst and many visits to the toilet along the way!

Always make any changes to the body gradually and if you have any history of heart failure, water retention, swelling or kidney disease it is extremely important to increase your water consumption under supervision.

Happy hydrating!

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